Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl. Faithless is being published by Orenda Books in paperback on 15 April 2017.

Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again.

Faithless is the fifth in Kjell Ola Dahl’s series of books featuring his detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich. I’ve not read any of the others, but Faithless can (and indeed was!) easily read as a standalone. They’re quite the pair, our detectives. Inspector Frølich is investigating the murder of a woman who was engaged to a childhood friend – a friend he hasn’t seen for the past 20 years. Meanwhile Gunnarstranda is looking into the disappearance of a university student. Then there’s the cold case (is there any other sort in Norway?) which bears striking similarities…

Faithless is classic Nordic Noir. The pace of the investigation is slow and steady, with clues being turned over gradually as the story progresses. Don Bartlett has done a fine job here of translating – as he did with Gunnar Staalesen’s We Shall Inherit the Wind, and if you’re a fan of Gunnar’s work, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. The writing is punchy and the sentences short – something which took me a little while to get into the rhythm of, but soon settled into and patience was well rewarded.

The characters are well-developed and the plot is nicely twisty, keeping you guessing up to the end. Our detectives rely on good old fashioned police work, getting out and talking to people, pounding the streets and piecing the puzzle together bit by bit. It’s a classic police procedural in that sense, with a nice psychological angle and a fantastic ending.

If I had any criticism (and I really am nitpicking here) it was the sense of place – regular readers will be well aware of my fondness for books which give you a real sense of place and identity of the country. There’s certainly some on show here, but I think I’ve been spoiled by reading so many other fantastic Nordic Noir stories over the past couple of years! It’s a tiny point and definitely a personal thing for me – it shouldn’t put you off!

Thanks as ever go to Karen at Orenda Books (@OrendaBooks) for the review copy, and to Anne Cater (@annecater) for inviting me onto the tour.

Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl is published in the UK by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and ebook. Translated by Don Bartlett.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

3 thoughts on “Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl”

  1. Great review! I’m about halfway through this one and I agree on your point about the sense of place, compared to some of the other Nordic Noir’s I’ve recently read I don’t feel as immersed in the setting with this book.

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